his/her/their agony

Charles Butler hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Wed Dec 17 09:00:24 EST 2003

  JOdel at aol.com  wrote:
  Oh who am I kidding. I would have writtren the colloquial "them" in the first place. I gots no problems with "them". 

  Nor have I, in general - but I seem to be getting more sensitized to apparent number-agreement mishaps. Here's a sentence I came across yesterday in Penelope Lively's *The Stained Glass Window* (1976), ('they' refers to a group of people in a church, of varying ages and both sexes): 'They are together, side by side in the dark high pews, but each has thoughts locked away inside their head.'

  Logical or not, that 'head' there doesn't feel as good as 'heads'.

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